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The Supermarine Spitfire MKV: The MK V and Its Variants

The Supermarine Spitfire MKV: The MK V and Its Variants

Автор Lance Cole

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The Supermarine Spitfire MKV: The MK V and Its Variants

Автор Lance Cole

152 страницы
1 час
30 июл. 2018 г.


The story of the Supermarine Spitfire has been told across many years and the debate about it is enduring, yet the Spitfire remains a true icon. For aviation enthusiasts, for historians, for modellers, the word Spitfire conjures many stories and affections. This book presents the Spitfire enthusiast with an up-to-date history of the Spitfire not just in its design and application in war, but also as a flying memorial and as an aero modellers vital focus.The text examines recently revealed forgotten aspects of the Spitfire story; by combining the elements of design, the story of a weapon of war and a revered scale model, this book frames an essential chapter in aviation history. Packed with original and contemporary images and information, and displaying unique Spitfire model collections, the narrative bridges an important gap and is a worthy addition to the FlightCraft series.
30 июл. 2018 г.

Об авторе

Following early training in illustration and car design/styling, Lance Cole began to write about cars and aircraft. After becoming the 1983 Jaguar Cars/Guild of Motoring Writers Lyons Scholar, he has enjoyed a long career in the media, writing for all the major newspapers and specialist magazines, including The Daily Telegraph, The Independent, Classic Cars and the South China Morning Post. The author of over 100 articles and fifteen books, including five for Crowood, he now provides media, content and strategic PR advice, to major organizations including car manufacturers.

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The Supermarine Spitfire MKV - Lance Cole



The story of the Supermarine Spitfire has been told across many years and the debate about it and its performance remains enduring. So do the tales of the Spitfire’s contemporaries as friend and foe – the Hawker Hurricane and the Messerschmitt Bf 109 – yet one thing remains constant: the design of the Spitfire and the advantage it conveyed and which endured. For aviation enthusiasts, for historians, for modellers, the word ‘Spitfire’ conjures up many stories and affections. This aircraft really is an essential and enduring icon and has a place in the minds of men and boys alike; Spitfire also has female fans.

The famous television broadcaster Raymond Baxter flew several types of Spitfire during the Second World War, including the low-level, clipped-wing variant. Baxter remarked to the author: ‘The Spitfire was marvellous, they all had differing traits but above all there was that handling, those turns and roll-rate. I never wanted to fly another type.’

Douglas Bader remarked, also to the author: ‘Spitfire was supreme. Anything could dive fast, especially a one-oh-nine, but a Spitfire was quality, could outfly the Messerschmitt. Hurricane was good at fifteen thousand feet or so, above that Spitfire’s thin, curved wing gave it the decisive advantage.’

In 1940 when Goering asked his Luftwaffe generals if there was anything they needed to win the battle over Britain, their famous reply was ‘A squadron of Spitfires.’

There have been many books about the Spitfire and some historical regurgitation may be inevitable; however, this book attempts to provide the reader with a deeper insight into the aircraft’s engineering design story, the secret science of its wing and a modern modelling perspective. Herein lies established fact and recently unveiled proof of the massive scientific advance contained in the Spitfire’s design, an advance unrealized and little publicized for over seventy five years. Also here is the knowledge vital in the modelling of the Spitfire – in particular the Mk V and its variants that were the mainstay of the Second World War.

Originally envisaged as short-range, high-speed defensive fighter, Spitfire as Mk 1 and Mk II, was repurposed via the defining Mk V series. It was from the versatile Mk V that diverse variations of the airframe emerged – from high-altitude machine to low-level fighter bomber, floatplane, photo-reconnaissance, and more on the world’s stage into the 1950s.

Just as we should not forget the men and women who flew the Spitfire, neither should we forget the men that designed the Spitfire and, those who built and maintained it. For modellers keen on interpreting all the features and nuances of the various Spitfires, it offers huge opportunity for personal expression and applied technique. Whether you are an enthusiast, a modeller, or a Spitfire fanatic of your own making, a full appreciation of the aircraft’s whole story from initial sketch to final variant, must be a target to aim for. Like all books in the Flight Craft series, this book offers content that touches historical, and scale, contexts. The three sections cover origins, design and use, and modelling.

After looking at the first Spitfire and early Marks, then focusing upon the quintessential Spitfire Mk V of 1941 onwards, and its ensuing derivations, we study the great array of modelling options that surround the Spitfire and its variants. So much has been written about the Spitfire that sorting the wheat from the chaff is not easy, but by referring to diverse sources and recent revelations, we can chart an accurate history. Restorers of real Spitfires may also find interesting details herein.

‘Icon’ and ‘legend’ truly are overused words, but applied to the Spitfire they are completely appropriate: the Spitfire won a famous battle, it helped win a war and changed history in doing so; lesser realized, it also advanced the art of aerodynamics and airframe design. That amazing shape of delicate elliptical planform, a boat-like hull, conjoined by a then unique wing fillet, made its mark and it continues to cast its spell of elliptical lift and Merlin power. Spitfire remains an inspiring device of engineering function allied to an elegance of airflowed sculpture, yet a machine ultimately designed as a weapon of war to kill

Seen from the context of today, the Spitfire’s design may seem special but not revolutionary. This is an error and a self-limiting one at that, because in its day, the Spitfire was utterly revolutionary in its design and build; some modern observers might be too young to know or appreciate this fact. Some modern experts are unaware, or dismissive, of the Spitfire’s wing technology – science that was no accident or coincidence, as some have suggested.

This book is intended to appeal both to the aviation enthusiast who wants to learn of the full genesis and development of the Spitfire, and to the dedicated modeller. The text should provide a new appreciation of the details of the Spitfire story – from its intended use to our modern affection – a tale that reaches from the 1930s, the 1940s and onwards to today, a narrative from wartime mission to modern model.

Origin of the Species

Supermarine’s Chief Designer Reginald Joseph Mitchell CBE, AMICE, FRAeS, born in Stoke-on-Trent in 1895, was not a member of Britain’s elite society. His father had teaching experience, but became a printer in the industrial heartland of the nation. Young Reginald was immersed from an early age in British industrial engineering influence – in its Midlands’ crucible. He built model aeroplanes as a boy and also studied early sports cars and railway locomotives.

From an engineering apprenticeship and technical courses, Mitchell’s adult working base was with Supermarine in Southampton, which he joined aged 21 in 1916. By the 1930s, at a relatively young age, R. J. Mitchell’s name became well known and widely respected all over the world. These events occurred because of two things: the Schneider Trophy-winning aircraft and then the Spitfire fighter that Mitchell and his men created. Perceived wisdom had it that the Spitfire stemmed solely from the Schneider racers that Mitchell and Supermarine designed. This is not the whole story because, behind the scenes, Mitchell had a team and after 1931, among his close-knit band of brothers, there was a young, unrecognized talent who brought a major contribution to the design of the Spitfire, yet whom was never adequately credited for that role. The man’s name was Beverley Shenstone (latterly a famous aero-engineer, and President of the Royal Aeronautical Society). A Canadian post-graduate aeronautical engineer from Toronto University, by 1931 he had rare wind-tunnel and German swept-wing-design experience and was also a RCAF-qualified pilot and, a German-qualified (Wasserkuppe) glider pilot. He also had factory-floor, airframe-construction experience, so was not solely the young academic theoretician that some have labelled him.

Several men were vital to the Spitfire’s design as undeclared associate designer-type figures and Shenstone was but one of them: Joseph Smith, Alan

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